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  • Olivia Thomas

What to consider when renting a property - a guide for tenants

Finding the right rental property can often be a difficult task, as although there is no shortage of rental properties when searching online there are many factors which have to be taken into consideration.

Having lived in a rented property myself for several years I know that finding a property that is right for you can take time and patience. The rental market is a competitive place and finding out you've missed your dream home can be heart breaking but not taking enough time and rushing your decision can also have terrible consequences.

Here is my step by step guide to ensure you get the right property, letting agent and landlord for you and to help you manoeuvre the complex stages of renting a property...

Step 1. Finding a Property

Things to consider:

  • Think about the location you’d like to live in and that suits your needs

  • Make sure you have a ‘must have’ list so that you are clear on what you need, and this will help you save time when surfing the internet

  • What is your budget? and will you be willing to increase it for the right property?

  • How long are you thinking of staying in a rented property? Make sure to check whether a landlord is wanting a short or long term let

  • When would you be wanting to move in? Most rental properties are not available for at least a month once advertised so remember to take this into consideration

Step 2. Secure the Property

Things to consider:

  • The rental market can be fast moving, therefore if you find a property you like you’ll probably have to make quick decisions to secure it

  • Make sure to check a letting agents fees, all letting agents should be completely transparent when showing there charges so make sure there aren't any hidden charges further down the line

  • Being prepared can help you secure a property quickly so make sure you have the relevant documents ready can make a big difference, this includes photo ID and reference information

  • When you find the right house for you you’ll need to pay your application fee which will start the ball rolling and secure that property until your right to rent check, credit check and references have all be conducted

  • Be aware that should you fail any of these checks the application fee is NOT refundable so be absolutely sure are eligible for the property before applying

Step 3. Credit and Reference Checks

Things to consider:

  • You will need to provide references to the agent or landlord to ensure you have had no major problems renting in the past and that you are of good and reliable character

  • A credit check will also be undertaken to ensure you have the necessary funds for paying the prospective rent

  • The right to rent check must be carried out in person with your passport and any relevant visas. This ensures that you are legally allowed to rent property in the UK

Step 4. The Deposit

Things to consider:

  • The deposit is held to cover any damages that require repair at the end of the tenancy

  • If a letting agent is managing the property on behalf of the landlord, the deposit will be registered with a deposit protection service such as the DPS or TDP

  • The terms and conditions of any scheme used by a landlord or letting agent will form part of your Tenancy Agreement

Step 5. Sign the Tenancy Agreement

Things to consider:

  • The Tenancy Agreement is a legally binding document that sets out the terms of the tenancy and is drawn up to ensure the rights and obligations of both the tenant and the landlord are adhered to

  • All relevant parties will be asked to sign this document, which agrees the responsibilities of the landlord and tenant

  • The date on which the contract starts will become your rent due date, the date on which your rent must be paid

Step 6. Safety Certificates and Insurance

Things to consider:

  • All properties should have the correct certificates regarding, Gas, Electric and EPC as is legally required

  • The letting agent or landlord must also provide you with the most up to date version of the 'How to rent guide' which is a document produced by the government and must be given to every tenant

  • Having Accidental Damage cover before you move into a property is also a good idea

Step 7. Moving into your new home

All your checks and relevant paperwork are complete you're ready to move in!

The landlord or letting agent should accompany you at the move in to ensure everything goes smoothly and they will also go through the properties inventory with you, if applicable.

Things to consider:

  • The inventory is a detailed list of the contents and condition of the property at the point that you move in. Both parties must agree that the inventory is correct, this then helps avoid any disputes at the end of the tenancy.

  • I recommend that you throughly check the inventory before you sign it.

  • Remember you must inform your utility provider and local council of your move.

Should you have any questions regarding the information above please do not hesitate to call or email me.

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